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Monday, September 12, 2005

Hefty Salad Rolls

Pho Thien

Pho Thien's hefty salad rolls

I worry about this place. Not about the quality of the food. I worry that it may disappear. Pho Thien is located in a revolving spot on NE Glisan (not far past the turn for the Gateway Transmit Mall) that was formerly an unsuccessful Thai restaurant. Every time I've gone, I've been the only customer. Granted, I rarely go during peak hours, but still, I worry.

The reason I worry is because the food is actually pretty good. The menu is shorter than places like Pho Dalat or Pho Van, focusing primarily on pho with a few bun, com, and hu tieu dishes thrown in. All the standard beef and offal choices for pho ($5 for a regular, $5.50 for a large bowl), along with chicken or just plain broth and noodles are available (this latter choice at a reduced price of $4 and $4.50). The broth isn't quite as fragrant here as some of the best spots, but they do include all the typical herbs and the sprouts have always been fresh. Beef is tender, but rarely still pink, and the tripe is pleasant.

Their goi cuon (salad rolls, 2 for $3) is one of the best versions in PDX. The ingredients are always very fresh and the portions are relatively large, with three tasty, medium-sized shrimp per roll. They're served with an earthy peanut sauce that benefits from a little Sriracha, but avoids the annoying sweetness of peanut-buttery sauces you find in many Thai restaurants.

The interior is quite warm and comfortable with wooden chairs and cloth-covered tables, Vietnamese pop playing softly over the stereo. The girls usually doing the serving all appear to be second generation or later Americans and speak perfect English. Pho Thien supplements its income with espresso and Italian sodas, among other drinks, which is a bit of an oddity that seems like it could only happen in the Northwest.

Pho Thien Vietnamese Cuisine
10041 NE Glisan St
Portland, OR 97220

1 comment:

Beef said...

I tried eating at Pho Thien before and it was awful. My friend and I were the only two in the restaurant and it took an hour to get our beef noodle soups.

You would be better off spending your money at other authenic Vietnamese cuisines else where.